One of China's biggest private-sector conglomerates is seeking a magical solution to the horns of a dilemma about its future, pledging to "become a giant 'Unicorn' with enormous power".
Fosun International used the word "unicorn" at least 19 times in its annual report, in which it declared net profits of more than eight billion yuan ($1.2 billion).
"Fosun eventually will become a giant 'Unicorn' with enormous power," chairman Guo Guangchang, dubbed China's Warren Buffett, wrote in his letter to shareholders.
The mythical unicorn -- long a feature of legends and children's cartoons -- has found new life in the business world as a term used to describe tech startups valued at over $1 billion, including companies such as Uber, AirBnb, and Dropbox.
Hong Kong-listed Fosun, which owns Club Med and has a stake in Cirque du Soleil, vowed to pursue a unicorn strategy and "nurture" unicorns.
Guo has sought to reassure investors since he mysteriously vanished for several days in December in connection with an investigation by Chinese authorities, spurring rumours of a corruption crackdown and sending the company's stock tumbling 10 percent.
His loyal support of the ruling Communist Party made his disappearance especially chilling to business leaders in the country.
In the annual report, released late Wednesday, Fosun said creating "a real 'Unicorn'" required "enormous resources" to be "forged step by step with artisan spirit".
But the biology of a non-existent animal was crucial, it said: "First of all, the 'Unicorn' gene is necessary."